Bishops disappointed by House passage of SB 4, ‘anti-sanctuary cities’ legislation

Law will have negative impact on migrants in Texas

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (TCCB) is disappointed by the Texas House’s vote to
pass SB 4, which will punish local police officers if they do not fully cooperate with detainer
requests issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). SB 4 would also allow local
peace officers to inquire into the legal status of people who are arrested or detained.
The bishops commented on the last-minute amendment which allows police to inquire into the
status of detained persons, in addition to those who are arrested: “We are deeply disappointed
that the House revised SB 4 to include people who have committed no crime that merits arrest or
citation,” said Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, who also serves as chair of the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration and Refugee Services. “This will not help peace
officers build trust with the migrant community, which is critical to keeping all our communities

Acknowledging governments have the right and responsibility to maintain their borders, Cardinal
Daniel DiNardo of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese added, “Immigration law should be
enforced in a way that is targeted, proportional and humane. This bill does not meet the

“Immigrants who come to this country to work or to flee violence are not a threat to our safety,”
explained Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS. “Sadly, this legislation will suppress their
ability to contribute to our society and economy, and as a matter of principle, the unity of
families must be safeguarded.”

The bishops expressed gratitude for the legislators who lead the opposition to the bill, as well as
Catholics and others from throughout the state who opposed it. “Thousands of Catholics joined
with fellow Texans to testify, rally and encourage their representatives to stop this legislation,”
explained Jennifer Carr Allmon, executive director of the TCCB. “We thank those who have
taken a principled stance in solidarity with immigrants, and who have worked so hard in this

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops is the association of the Roman Catholic bishops of
Texas. Through the TCCB, the bishops provide a moral and social public policy voice that
includes monitoring all legislation pertaining to Catholic moral and social teaching; accredit the
state’s Catholic schools; and maintain records that reflect the work and the history of the Catholic
Church in Texas.

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